UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
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jon18uk
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 6:40 pm

Themeparksandy1981 wrote:

I wouldn't have a problem with paying £48 if it was just £48 but with £6 parking and all the extras they try to sell you which in Tussards day for free. Also I felt there was more rides and attractions I got my money's worth. There maybe 8 top coasters now but as the hours have been reduced you lucky if you get on all them in a day.


What did Tussaud's used to give for free?  I can't think of anything! And paid Fasttrack was introduced in around 2005 when Russell Barnes was director of AT before Merlin took over.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Sun Feb 16, 2014 8:42 pm

It's funny how people call Merlin, or Alton Towers money grabbing, when for several years the resort was actually operating at a financial loss. Even when taking in to account inflation, yeah, ticket prices are double what they were in 1994, but in 1994, the resort didn't have 20 years of investment to pay for onto of all the other operating costs.

Rides aren't just paid for in full using spare change from the grabber machines, they're financed with loans secured over several years. Interest and repayments paid on loans to fund investment often exceeds the actual money the park makes leading to the losses seen in recent years.

If you want a park that charges fairer pricing, then look towards the likes of Lightwater Valley or even the now defunct American Adventure. They're prime examples of what happens when you don't invest, it's just you need to accept that investment needs to be paid for and we're the ones paying.
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:11 pm

jon18uk wrote:
Themeparksandy1981 wrote:

I wouldn't have a problem with paying £48 if it was just £48 but with £6 parking and all the extras they try to sell you which in Tussards day for free. Also I felt there was more rides and attractions I got my money's worth. There maybe 8 top coasters now but as the hours have been reduced you lucky if you get on all them in a day.


What did Tussaud's used to give for free?  I can't think of anything! And paid Fasttrack was introduced in around 2005 when Russell Barnes was director of AT before Merlin took over.


Children ages between 4 and 14 could join the Alton Towers fun club, this originally allowed them unlimited free access to the park when accompanied by an adult, but in later years, 4 free visits per year. Fun Club members were also sent regular mailings and discounts for park merchandise. Every member was given a membership card and passbook.
 
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Re: The new BBC Worldwide partnership- what might we see?

Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:52 pm

Sorry to dig this up, but I was thinking about a very improbable, but cool for Doctor Who fans, ride on the site of Charlie. This will never happen but here goes.  :)

The riders would board a boat/cart (either works here, in fact, I think a cart might be more "flexible") and be taken into a dark, cold, misty cryogenic chamber with twelve waxworks of the Doctor, one in each chamber (no War Doctor). A video screen would display a Time Lord (maybe a Timothy Dalton cameo as Rassilon:lol: ) informing riders the Doctor's timeline had been compromised and they must save him. As this happens, the doors of each chamber would open up and lighting effects would be used to make it look like the Doctors had disappeared, one by one. The riders would then go down a surprise drop in the floor, kind of like an even tamer Thi13teen, and onto the first scene; 76, Totter's Lane, on 23/11/1963. Two waxworks of Ian and Barbara. Quotes from an Unearthly Child would play as the gates of the junkyard slide open to reveal the TARDIS. The cart would then push through into the next scene, the chilly tomb of the Cybermen. As animatronic Cybermen climb out, the riders travel onto the next scene, dank caves. Silurians peer around each stalactite, as a waxwork of the Third Doctor, in full caving gear holding a torch, whizzes round, illuminating their features. Riders would then travel into Davros' lab on Skaro, with a waxwork recreation of this scene. Then onto the freighter from Earthshock, with this scene. Cybermen storm in, and riders make a hasty exit through to Hyperon Three, where a group of Vervoids release poisonous gas (smoke effects) onto the Sixth Doctor and Mel. Then on to the Psychic Circus, where the eerie Chief Clown and his robots lurch at the Seventh Doctor and Ace. It's then implied a canister of Nitro-9 is thrown by Ace, releasing smoke and possibly explosion effects. Then onto the most ambitious piece; Gallifrey in the midst of the Last Great Time War, where Daleks surround the Eighth Doctor with laser effects and smoke. Out of nowhere, two Daleks would pursue the cart/boat, causing riders to travel onto the next area, a "docking area" where they disembark and enter a fake lift, similar to the Great Glass Elevator in the current Charlie, but more along the lines of an actual lift in an industrial setting. Riders enter in from one set of lift doors, and, after a few moments, the other set open up, revealing the riders to be in the middle of the Auton invasion of Henrik's, with Autons and a waxwork of Rose. The doors would then snap shut quickly, followed by motion, rumbling effects. The doors then re-open onto the Tenth Doctor's TARDIS console room set (I've no idea how the changeover from Henrik's to the TARDIS would be achieved  :lol: ), where his companions are gathered around watching his aborted regeneration. Riders then walk through the dark mazes (not an actual maze, more a corridor with theming) from The Time of Angels. Everytime the lights flicker off, Weeping Angels, using 'Whack-A-Mole'-esque effects, disappear and pop up another area, giving the impression they are moving closer to riders (for those unfamiliar, Weeping Angels travel when one can't see them.) Riders hurry through here and into the final scene, the High Council of the Time Lords. Rassilon, from the opening video, appears once again thanking riders for their help. Archive footage shows the Doctor's returning to their TARDISes. Then, in the corner of the room, light effects make it appear the TARDIS has landed. The doors (actually a full length video screen) swing open to reveal the current TARDIS interior, with the Twelth Doctor and Clara inviting the passengers to come with them. The video screen then slides across to form an archway, where riders can walk into the gift shop and then leave the attraction.

So there we have it! Impossible and extremely fan indulgent, but fun for me to write.
Last edited by coat98 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Mon Feb 17, 2014 9:57 pm

Themeparksandy1981 wrote:

Children ages between 4 and 14 could join the Alton Towers fun club, this originally allowed them unlimited free access to the park when accompanied by an adult, but in later years, 4 free visits per year. Fun Club members were also sent regular mailings and discounts for park merchandise. Every member was given a membership card and passbook.


Sorry, I only started going regularly age 18, around 1999 so wasn't aware this used to exist. However kids can pretty much get unlimited free entry now if they like Kellogs cereals! :-)
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:06 pm

jon18uk wrote:
Themeparksandy1981 wrote:

Children ages between 4 and 14 could join the Alton Towers fun club, this originally allowed them unlimited free access to the park when accompanied by an adult, but in later years, 4 free visits per year. Fun Club members were also sent regular mailings and discounts for park merchandise. Every member was given a membership card and passbook.


Sorry, I only started going regularly age 18, around 1999 so wasn't aware this used to exist. However kids can pretty much get unlimited free entry now if they like Kellogs cereals! :-)


But the big different from nearly 20 years ago to now is back then with theses tickets kids got in free, i.e. When I went in 1994 with my parents, sister, my mate & my sister's mate only my parents paid to get in. So in 1994 my parents only paid £28. I don't know how much petrol cost back then but it was 70p a litre in 2000. Now kids are classed as adults over the age of 12, even with 2 for 1 it would cost £144 and then you got 2 cars £30 each with petrol and parking £6 each that's £216 for 1 day out. 
Last edited by Themeparksandy1981 on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:17 pm

Legoland windsor is being left behind compared to the other Legoland parks.
Bigger newer rides.
This years new attraction, a repaired roof in the Legoland Hotel (the acroprops have finally gone)! They have taken out Pirates Training Camp a huge wooden play fort and replacing it with a newer simplified one (so parents can find and access kids)
All park hours are getting shorter even in summer, if you're lucky and Legoland is rammed they keep park open longer to help bleed the traffic out at night. 5 and 6 o'clock closing June and July is too early.If the weather is hot ad hoc extend the hours a hour to 7pm (long hot spells not random days as staff have to make plans too)and keep the main water rides open at least .
Last edited by Mark.aa on Mon Feb 17, 2014 11:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:03 am

Mark.aa wrote:
Legoland windsor is being left behind compared to the other Legoland parks.
Bigger newer rides.
This years new attraction, a repaired roof in the Legoland Hotel (the acroprops have finally gone)! They have taken out Pirates Training Camp a huge wooden play fort and replacing it with a newer simplified one (so parents can find and access kids)
All park hours are getting shorter even in summer, if you're lucky and Legoland is rammed they keep park open longer to help bleed the traffic out at night. 5 and 6 o'clock closing June and July is too early.If the weather is hot ad hoc extend the hours a hour to 7pm (long hot spells not random days as staff have to make plans too)and keep the main water rides open at least.


Well this was the first park that Merlin owned anyway. I only been once and that was back In 2008 and no plans to go back as the prices were more than any other Merlin park for mainly kids rides. The Jungle Coaster was a joke and thankfully it been replaced with a hotel. I thought the park was well themed and we all enjoyed the rapids ride but to make Adults pay more than kids prices for family rides is taking the Mick. I think in 2008 was roughly the time I started falling out of love of Merlin as I not been back to Legoland,Chessington and all the London attractions since then. I last went to Thorpe park in 2011,Warwick Castle in 2012 and only went to Alton Towers last year cause of the sun free tickets. But on the other hand at Drayton Manor I been to every Firework event on the final day of the season since 2002. I know the coasters ain't on par with any of the Merlin big coasters but I always feel I get my money worth here and a good ride count. With the Uk still suffering from the Recession&Credit Crunch and families counting the pennies they look for places to go that is value for money. Instead of days out now&then they save up for 1 big family holiday a year. The family who live over the road to us have to go on camping holidays all the time to make ends meet.
Last edited by Themeparksandy1981 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:27 am

^I'm really sorry, I cannot agree.

Legoland Windsor has been ruined. I believe that the Jungle Coaster was the best ride there, and was one of my first "thrill" coasters. I really don't see how replacing their biggest coaster with an overpriced hotel is a good move.

There are now 5 attractions that I find fun at Legoland:
1. The Dragon - it's now the biggest ride there
2. Pirate Falls - it may be just a log flume, but it's one of the most thrilling rides there
3. Jolly Rocker - Pirate Ship
4. Viking River Splash - the best rapids in the UK!
5. Extreme Team Challenge - Like a more interesting Depth Charge

I miss the Jungle coaster, and would give anything to have it back.
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:08 am

There were too many issues with the jungle coaster and noise though, the debacle of those heavy plastic cages on the ride was awful. Legoland needs to look at building more attractions but along the lines of Dragon Coaster and Atlantis, rides that everyone in the family can enjoy equally, not like driving school where anyone over 10 is excluded. I also wish Legoland would pay a lot more attention to Miniland, there is always several broken effects and I think last time I only saw one working vehicle!

But where Legoland parks are better than the other Merlin parks is the consistency across the park, everything is Lego branded, paper cups, carrier bags, menus etc
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 8:20 am

Atlantis - For the whole family?

There are very few fish, it's just an activity aimed at 3 year olds (true story - my mum took a two year old she childminds on this and they loved it, the rest of us were miffed that we'd queued 20 minutes for it).

You also don't go underwater ;)
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 9:46 am

Their prices are just a joke.
 
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Re: The new BBC Worldwide partnership- what might we see?

Tue Feb 18, 2014 2:02 pm

Very good - but you're immediately cutting out the people who aren't fans of Doctor Who.

Where the IP rights may come into play is at Halloween where I can see a Doctor Who walkthrough being extremely possible. 

I am still confident (though have no proof) that the new County Hall attraction is going to be BBC related… it *HAS* to be; there's nothing else they could be doing!
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Re: The new BBC Worldwide partnership- what might we see?

Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:02 pm

nickhutson wrote:
Very good - but you're immediately cutting out the people who aren't fans of Doctor Who.

Where the IP rights may come into play is at Halloween where I can see a Doctor Who walkthrough being extremely possible. 

I am still confident (though have no proof) that the new County Hall attraction is going to be BBC related… it *HAS* to be; there's nothing else they could be doing!

Exactly, as I say, it's extremely improbable, and serves only to share how I, a Doctor Who fan, would do it. I completely realise it's very biased, it's purely selfish. :P

I've just Googled the County Hall thing, if it's BBC, I'm not sure it'd be Doctor Who, due to how the BBC seem to have "anchored" their base of Doctor Who things in the Experience in Wales.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:08 pm

Ilovecoasters wrote:
^I'm really sorry, I cannot agree.

Legoland Windsor has been ruined. I believe that the Jungle Coaster was the best ride there, and was one of my first "thrill" coasters. I really don't see how replacing their biggest coaster with an overpriced hotel is a good move.

There are now 5 attractions that I find fun at Legoland:
1. The Dragon - it's now the biggest ride there
2. Pirate Falls - it may be just a log flume, but it's one of the most thrilling rides there
3. Jolly Rocker - Pirate Ship
4. Viking River Splash - the best rapids in the UK!
5. Extreme Team Challenge - Like a more interesting Depth Charge

I miss the Jungle coaster, and would give anything to have it back.


I was 27 years old when I went to Legoland. I got an on ride video of the Jungle Coaster. All you could hear was us laughing. The speed it went and the heavy braking at the end was the best bit.
Last edited by Themeparksandy1981 on Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:52 pm

Me and my kids only got on Jungle Coaster once before in was shipped to Legoland California and swapped for that Storm Surge now at Thorpe, as the queues were that long, due to popularity and low hourly capacity since canopies were slapped on. Even Jolly rocker was part worn from one of their other parks (Heide Park?).
The park that needs a rehab is Thorpe, it's a dump, the queues overlap so much in the small areas there's always queue jumping. There are no defined park areas like X Sector, Transylvania, Knights Kingdom. The queue for Saw and Saw Live can sum up my feelings on a bad day, you're cattle! Get in, wait ages.
Then the over selling of fast track passes, the fast track queues can be as long as main queue (never bought one at Thorpe, only Towers and for the  kids rides 3 for £10?) Thorpe want £6 for one ride.
Poor restaurants, Burger Kings and Pizza Hut. It's all kiosks .
the only 2 I like there are the outdoor burger grill under canopy (cannot remember name)and Bar 360 at the dome.
The best park restaurants are at Legoland.
River rapids queue line is in dire need of a refurb not just paint on top of the flaking old paint.
Last edited by Mark.aa on Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Honest Merlin Opinions

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:23 am

^ Agreed! Thorpe is definitely in the most need of attention in terms of management.
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Wed Feb 19, 2014 5:10 pm

I like the way Merlin try to be as innovative as possible when developing a new style of attraction, but I feel at times they are slightly too obsessed with the idea.

The majority of visitors to the Towers are less likely to have experienced some of the best roller coasters in Europe (Blue Fire, Troy, etc.) Merlin can afford to add a new flagship coaster that doesn't have to include a silly gimmick and it can still make them money, which, at the end of the day, is all they care about. I wish they would actually take note at what other parks are doing rather than trying to invent their own wild creations. Could you imagine how awesome an  Intamin Mega-Lite would be at Alton Towers or Thorpe?

I also cannot stand their prices. £48 for an adult day ticket for Alton Towers is completely unjustifiable... no matter how awesome the park is. 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:32 pm

Agree with the above. Please Alton no more gimmicks. The thing that's probably holding back the holly grail of a cross valley coaster is, (apart from,the neighbours, noise, planning, cost, tree huggers moaning about trees being removed, rare frogs) is: How can merlin shoe horn in a world's first element to it!

Easy the world's first cross valley coaster at Alton Towers. There won't be another one in the world!

Perfect terrain for a coaster. 8 out of 10 people on the SW8 post say this is what they want. The first woodie would be great! But a cross valley nap of the earth hugging wing rider would be great.The valley is an area that should be saved for something special like this as it can only be done once. God please not another euro fighter!!!.

Moving on to Legoland.
My kids loved the events at Legoland but got paired down to Star Wars days (still very good), and a side show of Ninja Turtles, the fireworks are great. Amazing machines event was great with monster trucks and motor cross stunt show, seeing helicopters leave at end of day, now no more, and no my first festival.

Why no more fireworks at Thorpe? Why not have a mid summer solstice late night on the longest day of the year at each park?
Last edited by Mark.aa on Wed Feb 19, 2014 7:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: Honest Merlin Opinions

Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:10 pm

Theres some great comments in this thread.

All I will add is "nobody is making you go to alton towers or other merlin attractions"

If you think it's over priced then don't go, simple, go somewhere that you can afford.

Live within your means

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